Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 31, 2009
Got a pet tarantula? Then wear eye protection
The unusual case of a man who had spider hairs stuck in his eye is described in a case report in this week's edition of the Lancet, written by Dr.

Unusual protein modification involved in muscular dystrophy, cancer
With the discovery of a new type of chemical modification on an important muscle protein, a University of Iowa study improves understanding of certain muscular dystrophies and could potentially lead to new treatments for the conditions.

NASA's TRMM satellite measures Cyclone Laurence's heavy rainfall
Tropical Cyclone Laurence dropped heavy rainfall over Northwest Australia last week, and NASA and the Japanese Space Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRMM satellite measured that rainfall from its orbit in space.

Using modern sequencing techniques to study ancient modern humans
DNA that is left in the remains of long-dead plants, animals or humans allows a direct look into the history of evolution.

PET plays critical role in supporting Parkinson's disease research
A large-scale study conducted to measure the effectiveness of dopamine cell transplantation in Parkinson's disease patients shows significant improvements in motor skills and brain function, according to research reported in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM).A large-scale study conducted to measure the effectiveness of dopamine cell transplantation in Parkinson's disease patients shows significant improvements in motor skills and brain function, according to research reported in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Evolution caught in the act
Mutations are the raw material of evolution. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, and Indiana University in Bloomington have now been able to measure for the first time directly the speed with which new mutations occur in plants.

To a mosquito, matchmaking means 'singing' in perfect harmony
Researchers have new insight into the sex lives of the much-maligned mosquitoes that are responsible for the vast majority of malaria deaths, according to a report published online on Dec.

Catheter ablation prior to defibrillator shock reduces risk of recurrence of life threatening rapid heartbeat in patients with stable ventricular tachycardia (VTACH study)
Patients with episodes of ventricular tachycardia (VT -- a rapid heartbeat that originates in the ventricles) are at high risk of repeat VT, ventricular fibrillation and death.

Snake bite: Prevention is best but antivenom treatment must also be improved
Around 5.5 million people are bitten by snakes each year, resulting in some 400,000 amputations and between 20,000 and 125,000 deaths.

Scripps Florida scientists show 'lifeless' prions capable of evolutionary change and adaptation
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have determined for the first time that prions, bits of infectious protein devoid of DNA or RNA that can cause fatal neurodegenerative disease, are capable of Darwinian evolution.

Mystery solved: Facial cancer decimating Tasmanian devils likely began in Schwann cells
An international team of scientists led by a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory investigator has discovered that the deadly facial tumors decimating Australia's Tasmanian devil population probably originated in Schwann cells, a type of tissue that cushions and protects nerve fibers.

Carbon nanotubes show promise for high-speed genetic sequencing
In the current issue of Science, Stuart Lindsay, director of Arizona State University's Center for Single Molecule Biophysics at the Biodesign Institute, along with his colleagues, demonstrates the potential of a new DNA sequencing method in which a single-stranded ribbon of DNA is threaded through a carbon nanotube.

CSHL team determines how precursors of gene-regulating small RNAs are sorted by cellular machinery
A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has determined a hierarchical set of criteria that explain how the molecular precursors of gene-regulating small RNAs are sorted by the cellular machinery.

Neglected tropical diseases -- momentum must be continued
This week's edition of the Lancet sees the first in a four-part series on neglected tropical diseases -- conditions which almost exclusively affect the world's poorest people, namely those 2.7 billion people living on less than $2 per day.

Nervous culprit found for Tassie devil facial tumor disease
Cells that protect nerves are the likely origin of the devil facial tumor disease that has been devastating Australia's Tasmanian devil population, an international team of scientists has discovered.

It's never too late to quit smoking and save your vision
Need a little extra incentive to kick the habit? Just in time for New Year's resolutions, a UCLA study finds that even after age 80, smoking continues to increase one's risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65.
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